Written by Corbett Smith
Help Wanted: Plano East still without 10th game for 2012 season
Plano East coach Johnny Ringo sounded deflated on the phone. He’s been looking for a Week Four or Five game ever since the UIL released its new district alignments in early February.
He just hasn’t found any success.
As it stands, Plano East — the largest school in the state — has only nine games scheduled for the 2012 season. Ringo has tried everything, and everyone, to no avail.
“We had everything lined up when we went over to Birdville (Fine Arts/Athletic Complex, hub for area coaches during the realignment process), a scrimmage and games in zero, one, two and three [weeks],” Ringo said.
But, when placed in one of the area’s two 5A six-team districts (Districts 5 and 10), another game had to be procured. And Ringo, scrambling in Birdville to find an opponent, couldn’t make a connection.
He’s tried setting up games with The Woodlands College Park, Cibolo Steele and Jenks (Okla.). Those opponents have fallen through. A team from Seattle wanted to fly down for a taste of Texas high school football, but their asking price was far too high. He’s even tossed out the idea of playing a much smaller school, such as Class 3A schools Stephenville or Jasper. Playing a school with six times the enrollment isn’t that appealing for those schools, however. There are only two other districts in 5A in the state with just six teams, in the San Antonio and Corpus Christi areas.
Ringo said that in the future, he hopes that the UIL would either make every district at least seven teams deep (10 of the 16 5A districts in Regions I and II have at least eight teams; two have nine) or that the league would give coaches in six-team districts advance warning, so they could plan ahead.
Plano East not only stands to lose gate revenue at some point over the next two seasons, but there’s a competitive disadvantage at play as well. PESH has not one, but two weeks off between its final non-district game (FM Marcus, Sept. 21) and its district opener against Allen on Oct. 12. Ringo said while it could be a blessing if his team is injury-riddled, it will “almost be like playing in Zero Week again,” a tough challenge for any team, especially against a seasoned opponent like Allen.
He’s still holding out hope, though, that something can be found before the start of the season. Jasper still remains a possibility.